Barcelona and Real Madrid are chasing Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic. The Times says United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will try to talk Vidic out of leaving, but he is understood to be genuinely concerned that the player may have had his head turned by the idea of a move to the Continent and is unsure that even the offer of a lucrative new contract would be enough to persuade the 27-year-old to stay.

With Vidic contracted to the club until June 2012, Ferguson would be able to demand a huge fee for the centre back if the manager decided a parting of ways was the only route forward.

Given some of the exorbitant transfer fees last summer, it is unfeasible United would let Vidic leave for anything less than £30 million - more than four times what they paid Spartak Moscow for him in January 2006.